In "There Will Come Soft Rains", how is the house described?

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caledon | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The house is characterized as an almost living entity, and is given an abundance of descriptions that detail both its structure and contents, as well as its "behavior".

The house is specifically provided with a number of humanizing elements, specifically, things which we would normally associate with a living human. It has electric "eyes", it "sings" and "screams", an electric "brain, a metal "throat" and oak "bones", and the house "quivers" and "shudders" in protective paranoia. These elements are specifically intended to make the house seem like an ecosystem, one which is specifically intended to care for its inhabitants, and is more of a companion than a literal servant.

In having its own "thoughts" and behaviors, yet being unable to recognize the absence of its owners, the house seems something like a dog; its existence is defined by its family, and it lacks the ability to adapt and rationalize beyond that dynamic. This is perhaps supported by the point in the story in which the dog enters the home and dies, foreshadowing that the house, too, will die, and that its existence is pointless, just as when the dog chases its tail just before dying.

The house is also described as being the only one left standing amid a glowing, radioactive wasteland, the aftermath of an atomic blast. Even more than its ignorance of the fate of its owners, the house is ignorant of the collapse of society around it. 

 

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